Naperville's Suzanne Compton Bringing "Sparkle" to "Dirty Rotten Scoundrels" at Wheaton Drama

  • Suzanne Compton of Naperville is part of "Dirty Rotten Scoundrels" at Wheaton Drama.

    Suzanne Compton of Naperville is part of "Dirty Rotten Scoundrels" at Wheaton Drama. Steven Merkel

 
Jo-Ann Ledger
Updated 4/26/2012 10:15 AM

Suzanne Compton of Naperville is returning to the Wheaton Drama stage in the musical comedy, "Dirty Rotten Scoundrels".

Previously seen at Playhouse 111 in "Oliver!", Suzanne enjoys performing in area musicals. While she has always had a flair for the theatrical, she notes that "I didn't start performing on stage until I was older."

 

Suzanne's path to theatre was through a related field: barbershop chorus. A friend who ran children's theatre workshops saw Suzanne perform with the barbershop and encouraged her to audition for shows at Magical Starlight Theatre in Naperville.

Suzanne believed theatre would be a good opportunity to share an activity with her kids. "My children had expressed an interest, so I thought it was something we could do together." Instead, "I ended up getting cast, and they never got around to auditioning." Her children became indirectly involved as "good supporters".

While Suzanne loved the "great musical discipline" of barbershop, doing both barbershop and theatre became difficult, so she decided to focus on theatre.

Suzanne's experience with barbershop has served her well in musical theatre. "Depending on the score, the music for a show can be really easy, or fairly challenging", she observes. No matter the level of complexity, one thing is the same: "...it's always about having fun performing."

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"Dirty Rotten Scoundrels" is offering good times and challenges. She notes, "...it's been interesting working music and covering male vocals in an all-female ensemble. We're never quite sure which staff we're reading or which octave we're singing!", she laughs. "I can't wait to be off the paper."

While some shows may offer minimal involvement for the ensemble, "Dirty Rotten Scoundrels" is keeping Suzanne and her cast mates very busy. In this show, "the challenge is how many numbers are performed by the ensemble! (I counted 12.) And the music isn't easy. Once we've got it, it will be a blast."

The chance to "have a blast" is what drew Suzanne to audition, and with so many numbers in which to sing and dance, there is ample opportunity to do what she loves and share that joy with others. "Music speaks to an audience - transports an audience - in a way that other shows just don't. It's fun to be a part of that."

The way Jeffery Lane (book) and David Yazbek (music and lyrics) have adapted the popular Michael Caine and Steve Martin movie into this Tony« nominated musical comedy is also entertaining. With numbers such as "Here I Am", "Great Big Stuff", "Like Zis/ Like Zat", "Love Sneaks In", and "Oklahoma?", there's something for classic musical lovers and for those who like their musicals to have a more contemporary flavor.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Suzanne thinks that the "Dirty Rotten Scoundrels" story was perfect for adaptation as a musical, because "the characters in the story are so 'over the top', it lends itself to a musical. Part of the funny aspect of this adaptation is that the music is really good - and then you hear the lyrics and they are crazy!" The often tongue-twisting lyrics are a great comic element in the show and "because the story and the characters are crazy, it works!"

Suzanne describes "Dirty Rotten Scoundrels" as a "rather bawdy story of people trying to take advantage of other people - working the angles." While the con men go to some hilarious extremes, it makes for a show Suzanne notes is "a lot of fun" for all involved -- audiences included.

Suzanne is delighted to be in the "Dirty Rotten Scoundrels" ensemble, "adding the 'sparkle' to make the production look good and sound great."

Performances of "Dirty Rotten Scoundrels" are May 25 through June 17. Shows are Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays at 8pm and Sundays at 3pm. Tickets are $18 for Thursdays; $21 for Fridays-Sundays. Tickets are available at http://www.wheatondrama.org, or by calling 630-260-1820.

"Dirty Rotten Scoundrels" contains some comedic adult language and themes. Music Theatre International licenses the show.

Wheaton Drama's 2012-2013 season is set to include "The Heiress", "The Sound of Music", "Sherlock Holmes: The Final Adventure", "Full Circle", and "Into the Woods". Special additional productions include the children's show "Hansel and Gretel" (see website for audition information), "Broadway Ballot" - a musical revue, and a classic Christmas show.

At play since 1931, Wheaton Drama's productions are staged at Playhouse 111, 111 N. Hale Street in downtown Wheaton. Visit http://www.wheatondrama.org for more information and show tickets.

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